Warning Signs from an IT Provider

Businesses increasingly rely on technology for ensuring efficient daily operations.  Everything from invoicing to purchasing to payroll to marketing is online these days.  We must ensure all IT systems remain secure at all times and we must minimize the risk of downtime in our daily operations.  Businesses that expect to grow and excel in today’s corporate climate must have a trusted and reliable IT service provider that oversees and manages technology on an ongoing basis.  The below warning signs can help mitigate some of this risk proactively. Today’s video focuses on five warning signs you may encounter with Managed IT Service Providers.

Warning Sign #1 – Petty Invoicing

IT Services Providers of a certain maturity level are providing fully managed “all you can eat” service agreements.  Everything is covered and no questions are asked.  All onsite IT support is covered.  All remote IT support is covered.  The only invoices sent by the IT service provider are for standard monthly service, any additional hardware and occasional project work outside of the normal scope. One of the common warning signs we see in this area is where onsite support is not included in the managed IT services agreement.  These agreements build tension over time as the IT service provider either does not come onsite when needed over fear of sending an invoice or they come onsite continuously and have zero incentive to resolve technical challenges efficiently from a remote location.

Warning Sign #2 – Poor Communication

One of the key indicators on communication is having to call the IT service provider for a support status update.  We teach our engineers that a status call in means we have not communicated proactively enough.  Engineers are very easily distracted into resolving the issue and it is easy to lose sight on the business need to readily know status so the business can plan around expected resolution time.

Warning Sign #3 – Is the Owner an Entrepreneur

It is very common in our industry that the owner of the IT service provider is a glorified technician.  The owner was probably very good at fixing computers and started their own business along the way.  That business has grown to a point where they have multiple engineers but it is still a technician led business.  The technician led IT service provider is often not in touch with the reality of running a company and the challenges of efficient daily operations. Entrepreneur led IT service providers generally operate very differently.  The provider focuses on managing uptime, minimizing risk from infrastructure failures and minimizing cybersecurity risk.  Technology debt is measured during quarterly business reviews.  Cybersecurity and minimizing the risk of a cyberattack are continuously watched and managed.

Warning Sign #4 – Is Security at the Forefront

Secure IT solutions should be at the forefront of your IT service providers offering to your company.  A cyber attack is one of the most detrimental and costly experiences a business can have.  Aside from the downtime and data loss, the reputational cost of a ransomware attack can be devastating.  What percentage of your spend is on security?  What dedicated services are offered by the managed IT service provider regarding security?  How confident are you in areas on compliance?  Do you have a known defense in depth cybersecurity strategy?

Warning Sign #5 – Cybersecurity Insurance

Does your business have cybersecurity insurance?  If not, it is recommended to add this immediately through your insurance representative.  If so, you will likely receive a questionnaire asking about various coverage areas and how you are addressing security in those areas.  How confident are you in meeting with your MSP and asking them questions about how you are handling security?  Will this meeting be a team effort and collaboration on answering the questionnaire?  Will your MSP be defensive in these answers as coverage is lacking? This may seem like a tremendous amount to digest but it is necessary to see the warning signs proactively and find the best managed IT service provider for your company.  Staying proactive in this decision helps you avoid costly challenges down the road with downtime and lacking cybersecurity.  Keeping technology under control allows you to focus on your primary goals of business growth and operations.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help you!
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